I likewise have doubts about the inspections. My understanding is that they are starting at the sites where they left off when they were kicked out by Hussein. That seems like just the wrong strategy. You know that there is going to be nothing there, because Hussein already knows the site is under suspicion. Why not try a site that you haven’t previously inspected?
My sense is that Bush’s real strategy hinges on the December 8 disclosure deadline, when Hussein has to show his cards about whatever weapons of mass destruction he has. There is reason to believe that we and the Brits have intel about Husseins holdings already, that Hussein will lie, and that we will then strike. The task of eliminating the weapons is complicated because the UN inspectors are likely to emerge with white-gloves still Clorox clean, but if the intel exists, Bush should be able to make the case for those who are willing to listen. As for why he hasn’t revealed more details previously: my sense is that the administration doesn’t want to telegraph what it knows so that Hussein can play three-card monte with anthrax. Better to reveal the sites after they are destroyed.